The World Equestrian Games


By Liz Cornell

The FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) is the largest equestrian competition in the world, holding world championships for eight disciplines every four years.

All eyes are on the next Games to be held September 11–23, 2018 at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in North Carolina. Tryon is hosting the eighth Games. The first one was held in Stockholm, Sweden in 1990.

500,000 Millions

WEG’s expected atten- dance is over 500,000 people over the course of

the two week event. At the previous WEG held in France in 2014, there were 984 athletes and 1,234 horses from 74 nations competing. Similar numbers are expected for Tryon 2018.

It’s no secret that hosting a mammoth equestrian event like the WEG takes

serious investment for both the show grounds and the nearby city infrastructure. Unfortunately past Games have reported either a breakeven or a loss in the final financial analyses. However many believe the true effects of the Games are intangible and the benefits are not measur- able with a number. For the 2010 WEG held in Lexing- ton, Kentucky, for example, the Lexington Herald Leader reported in 2011 that $107 million was spent for improve- ments at the Kentucky Horse Park, including an indoor arena and an enhanced outdoor stadium. In addition, $151 million in tax money finished public works projects, including road improvements and the Blue Grass Airport expansion. The city added more sidewalks, a bike trail, bike lanes, shade trees and more bus routes. Plus businesses, including sponsor Alltech, put in at least $70 million. As a result of the Games, the Horse Park reported numerous new equestrian events were scheduled, and many shows relocated to the Kentucky Horse Park from other venues. According to Mayor Jim Newberry, the Games “had the entire community pulling together, and the vast majority of the effects will be with us for decades.”


Bromont, Quebec initially won the bid in 2014 to host the

2018 WEG, but in mid-2016 the venue pulled out due to financial reasons. According to a report by CBC News, the province of Quebec had pledged to contribute $9 million

to the event and was expecting the federal government to match that amount. But the organizers lacked private fund- ing and when Ottawa (the country’s capital) announced it would not be contributing, Bromont was forced to withdraw.

Slovakia. Tryon won the bid and it’s the second time the WEG is being held in the United States (with the first held in Lexington, Kentucky in 2010).

2 9,000

The WEG organizers are recruiting 3,500 to 4000 volunteers for 9,000 positions over a three-week period.

What types of positions need to be filled? Everything from driving golf carts to working at the ticket booth to helping the disabled. There are also numerous “discipline-specific” positions available during each discipline’s competitions. Even the veterinarians serving at the WEG are unpaid

volunteers. The veteri- narians are overseen by local Tryon veteri- narians, spouses Anne Baskett, DVM, DACVS and Bill Hay, DVM, DACVS, according to the website equimanage- The couple owns Tryon Equine Hospital PLLC, about 15 minutes away from the showgrounds. (Anne is an event rider too.)

Thousands of volunteers are being recruited for the WEG.

is this handled? In steps Kentucky Equine Research (KER), based in Versailles, Kentucky, who has been responsible for coordinating equine feed and bedding for interna- tional equine events for more than 20 years. The company managed the food and bedding for the 2010 WEG and has managed the last four Olympic Games. So for events


Top of Page: The four members of the 2014 U.S. Show Jumping Team at the FEI WEG in Normandy where they took bronze, left to right: McLain Ward; Beezie Madden; Lucy Davis, and Kent Farrington.

Warmbloods Today 23

Most competitors from foreign countries do not want to change their horses’ diets before and during the competition. How

That left two final bidders for the 2018 WEG: the then-new Tryon International Equestrian Center located in Mill Spring, North Carolina and Šamorín in

Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography

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